Canon Has Officially Stopped Using the Terms ‘Master’ and ‘Slave’

Photography Gear

As protests against systemic racism swept the globe this year, there have been calls by some photographers for ending the use of the terms “master” and “slave” in the industry. Now Canon has come forward as the first camera company to officially stop using those terms on its camera gear.

In photographic lighting, a “master” device is one that is able to control/trigger a “slave” device. While these terms have been standard in the industry for decades, some have argued that they’re unnecessary ones that could easily be replaced with alternatives (e.g. “transmitter” and “receiver”).

“Master” and “Slave” seen on the Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT flash.

Photographer Jason Parnell-Brookes of Fstoppers reports that Canon began ending use of “master” and “slave” in 2017 and has officially discontinued their use moving forward across its product lines.

“Canon started to phase these [terms] out since the end of 2017,” a Canon Europe spokesperson tells Fstoppers. “[In] all new products and materials, these terms are no longer used.”

The change will only be found on new Canon gear, as the terms are permanently baked into existing gear.

“Products released before this time, and still available, will still have the term as it’s often a physical part of the LCD display so can’t be changed by firmware, etc,” Canon tells Fstoppers.

As Canon is the leading manufacturer in the camera industry, it seems likely that other brands, both big and small, will follow its lead, and that this change in naming conventions may be a permanent one in the industry moving forward.

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